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FG Reviews License Fee toCombat Illegal Mining

By Patience Chat Moses

The Ministry of Solid Minerals Development has announced plans to review rates of mining licenses and other related fees payable by mining operators in the country. The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Dele Alake revealed this while speaking at a consultative meeting with stakeholders in the mining industry. The Minister emphasized on the need for the review to boost the capacity of government to effectively reposition the mining sector. Highlighting efforts to reposition the mining industry, the Minister noted that aside from ongoing reforms, the federal government is sanitizing the mining environment through the newly unveiled mining marshals, which he affirmed have been conducting operations in parts of the country to protect legitimate miners and combat illegal mining. Soliciting the support of stakeholders for the impending increase in fees for mining licenses and other fees, Alake stressed that this has become inevitable if the government is to effectively fulfill its obligations of providing an enabling environment for mining operations, while raising more revenue for the government.

In his words, “For us to continue to ensure that we secure the mining environment and keep putting in place measures that will ease the operational difficulties and challenges that confront miners, we need to review the rates of mining licenses and other sundry fees. “We felt that we can’t just do this without letting you know because invariably, you are the players in the industry,” he said. Giving his remarks on the recent revocation of dormant mining licenses, the Minister noted that the government followed due process and extant laws guiding the action, emphasizing that a 30-day restitution window still exists for operators that were affected. It will be recalled that the Minister announced a restitution fee of N10m, 7.5m, 5m and 2.5m for Mining Leases, Small Scale Mining Licenses (SSML), Exploration License (EL) and Quarrying License respectively for revoked dormant licenses including those earlier revoked for default in payment of annual service fees.

In his submission, the Director-General of the Mining Cadastral Office, Engr. Obadiah Nkom, who also chaired the fees review committee, stated that the committee recommended new rates that are affordable and will enhance the competitiveness of the fiscal regime of the mining sector in comparison with regional and global standards. Speaking on behalf of the stakeholders, the President of the Miners Association of Nigeria (MAN), Dele Ayanleke commended the Minister for his efforts to put the mining sector on the global front burner, expressing support for ongoing reforms and plans to review fees payable by operators. He urged the minister to consider the challenges faced by miners and ensure the rates are affordable.

Other stakeholders who were present at the review were representatives of Women In Mining (WIN), the Gemstone Miners Association (GMA), top officials of the ministry and a host of others.

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